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January 18, 2007


Question from Tama, Iowa, USA:

I would like to know what legal options are available to me concerning a Recreation Board not allowing my son to join the basketball team unless I stay with him at every practice. The papers to sign up for the team were made available through the school, but I don't think it is a school sponsored team. When I asked them if they would be able to sit down with me and discuss the symptoms of highs and lows and emergency procedures, they flat out said they didn't have time for that. In order for my son to play, I would have to sit with him through every practice. I can't bring myself to tell my son what they said; he is so excited about playing. I don't know what options I have.


Generally, a recreation program sponsored by a public entity and paid for through public funds must adhere to the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements to establish reasonable accommodations allowing full participation by those who have a condition or disease that significantly impacts on their lives. But, on the other hand, it may not be reasonable to expect these lay coaches to monitor closely the health status of a child while they are participating in this activity. Perhaps a solution would be to work with the child’s physician and diabetes educator to train your child to become self-aware of those signs that indicate he is having trouble and to notify an adult when that happens. I applaud you for not buckling under to the ignorance of the people who are running this recreational program. However, I am not a member of the bar of the State of Iowa, therefore I cannot counsel you on your individual “legal options.” If you wish to pursue this avenue, I encourage you to contact an attorney in your area who is experienced in the area of disability law.